How to Set Up a Home Yoga Practice Space

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During shelter-in-place we are all moving towards a home yoga practice which can be a practice in itself. We all have different living spaces, schedules, and potentially other people and pets to coordinate our schedules with so there is no one size fits all approach to creating a practice space. Your new yoga space will become an area of your home that can become a place of quietude and restoration. While we encourage practicing anywhere and everywhere, creating a special area to practice in can help us arrive into a practice and center ourselves during yoga and meditation. We have compiled a few tips to make your space a welcoming environment for practicing yoga and meditation.

Dedicated Space

Having a dedicated space no matter how large or miniscule creates a small sanctuary for our yoga practice. Areas that could count as a designated space could be your home office or a less used room like a guest bedroom. If there aren’t random rooms in your home available to practice at, having a small area beside your bed or where the coffee table usually sits in front of the couch is perfectly suitable. Even an area in the hallway that’s not frequently used could work.

While it would be nice to have an area to always leave your yoga mat rolled out and ready to practice on, that may not always be practical. No matter where you decide to set up, a designated area with space to move your body with the arms and legs extended outwards will work well.  Additionally, you will want a quiet space so preferably a room with a door or anywhere you can get away from some of the natural rumblings we hear in our homes. If you have the space and availability, consider if there’s a spot that you might feel happiest. I like to set myself up near a window so I can feel the sunshine on my face.

Tidy Up

One of the reasons to keep a designated area to practice is for cleanliness. In Sanskrit, this is called saucha. By having a clean space, it helps free our mind free from clutter and distractions. Imagine practicing a downward dog next to your bed and seeing dust bunnies, misplaced hair ties, socks, and that random book you’ve been searching for underneath your bed. All of a sudden we go from being in the moment, to a lot of random thoughts and judgements. 

Having a clean house all the time is simply not going to happen for many of us. However, if we have a designated space to practice, it might be easier to keep our tiny sanctuary a little cleaner on regular basis. Keep the area vacuumed and dusted. Remove any clutter within eyesight to help free the mind of its own clutter. By keeping this small area clean, it will help keep our attention with the breath, postures, and present in the moment.

Make it Your Own

One of the benefits of a home practice is that you can easily make your space your own. You could get some additional props to support your practice, utilizing blocks, blankets, yoga wheels, straps, wedges, or any additional tools to support your practice. You could also make it more comfortable with objects that help bring a sense of peace. Some people like to have house plants or flowers nearby, others like using stones or crystals. It could even be something more personal, like pictures of family members. 

In terms of lighting, you may enjoy a sunny spot, get candles, or Christmas lights to brighten up the spot. If your area has heavy fluorescent lighting, you may opt to bring a lamp with softer lighting into the space.

Oftentimes  during class, we refrain from using scents as some students have aversions to it. However, at home you can do whatever you like candles, incense, or essential oils can help bring another element of relaxation or rejuvenation. Think of anything that makes you feel at ease and comfortable and you can add it to your space.

Audio

For some of the live yoga class offerings, music is not always offered. You can use these classes as a time to start moving away from needing to use music in your practice, after all music is one more distraction. However, if you find that music is what you need, setting up speakers or any sort of audio equipment to listen to music can enhance your personal practice. 

While many of us miss having our time together, COVID-19 does create the opportunity to begin to establish a home practice. Creating a space that is dedicated, clean, and personal to you can help make it easier to come onto your mat to practice.

About the author:

Melissa Leger is an MBSR and yoga instructor. She works with women, veterans, and the medical community to help decrease stress and incorporate healthier lifestyle habits. As a female veteran, recovering corporate professional, and business owner, she has experienced stress and the challenges it creates in overall health and interpersonal relationships. Through a practical and straightforward approach, Melissa facilitates wellness programs that focus on living fully in the present moment through meditation and mindful movement. Melissa Leger currently teaches mindfulness to veterans experiencing PTSD at the Road Home Clinic and offers affordable yoga and mindfulness program throughout Chicago through various organizations. She has completed training programs through Mindful Academy International, Bloom Prenatal, Connection Coalition, Sunlight Chair Yoga, and Yandara Yoga Institute. She has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Female Entrepreneur Association, Veteran’s Path Podcast, and the Tampa Tribune. Melissa holds an MBA from the University of Tampa and a BS in Business Management from the University of Tampa.

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